Healthy Ways To Exercise With Diabetes

Healthy Ways To Exercise With Diabetes


Carbohydrates (carbs) choices matter when it comes to blood sugar control. Learn how you can make smarter carbs choices to beat the blood sugar blues.


While carbs have the greatest impact on blood sugar levels, they cannot be avoided as they are the preferred fuel of the body. On average, we need between 225 and 325 grams of carbs daily, so 45 to 60 percent of the calories in your diet should come from carbs.

The main forms of carbs in our diet are starch, sugar and fibre. These carbs can be further classified as refined, simple or complex carbs.


Ask Your Doctor For Help

Your doctor and physiotherapist can share more about the precautions you should know, before you start on any new workout or exercise regime. By explaining how vital regular exercise is to managing your condition, these experts could give you the encouragement you need too!

Start A Logbook

For people with diabetes, checking blood sugar levels before exercising is the most essential step in an exercise routine.3 During the first three weeks of a new exercise routine, it is recommended that you monitor blood glucose more frequently than normal.

Keep a log of glucose levels and share the changes with your healthcare team. To ensure that a diabetes logbook will provide the physician with enough information, record your blood sugar levels, insulin doses, blood-glucose-lowering medications, dosage frequency, stressful periods and your dietary habits. All of these factors give the healthcare team a complete picture of how food and diabetes medications affect your blood sugar levels.

Lower blood sugar levels may occur as quickly as two days after beginning a new exercise plan, especially if you exercise vigorously. This is one of the benefits of exercise. At the same time, do watch out for symptoms of low blood sugar4, which is also called hypoglycaemia. These signs include shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, headache, pale skin colour, sudden behaviour changes, clumsy or jerky movements, confusion, and tingling sensations around the mouth.

Start Small

Embrace exercise in all of its forms: Every little bit counts and exercise can be done just about anywhere. For instance, you could choose a more distant parking spot or take the stairs. You could also plan a walking or jogging route that you can take regularly. Other daily activities that you could try include gardening, washing the car by hand, golfing and household chores like vacuuming add up to the exercise tally.

Make Exercise A Regular Part Of Your Routine

Do it at the same time every day or every other day to turn exercise into part of your daily routine. Put it on your calendar and you’ll be less likely to skip it.

Admittedly, keeping up regular activity is hard when you’re just starting out. It can take about six weeks to truly adopt a new habit. If you’ve fallen out of the practice, take this chance to jump-start your routine.

Find Fitness Friends

Join a class to explore a new interest; it’s even more fun when you’ve good company. Find an exercise partner, be it a friend or a family member as you’ll be more likely to stick to it together.

Don’t Procrastinate

Today is the “tomorrow” you’ve been talking about. Just do it! Keep a log of all the exercises you have done. Looking back, you’ll be pleased with all of your progress.

Talk To Your Doctor And Dietitian

Check with your healthcare professionals before starting on a new exercise programme. You should do the same when you make significant changes to your workout habits too.

People with diabetes may also be at increased risk of heart disease, especially those who haven’t been exercising regularly.1 Your healthcare team will be able to provide special guidelines for you to follow, to minimise the risk of heart problems.

Changes to a diabetes care plan may be needed to accommodate the exercise, such as taking fewer pills, through adjusting your insulin dosage or meal plans.

Only make changes to your medications and other diabetes care after consulting your healthcare team. These professionals will determine if changes in oral medicine or insulin dose are needed and whether your daily food intake needs to be adjusted.

Foot Examination

People with diabetes often experience slow wound healing. If wounds are found on the feet, exercise should be temporarily stopped or modified.

Wearing socks and shoes that fit properly help prevent these types of wounds. People diagnosed with diabetes are more prone to foot-related problems5, so extra care should always be taken when it comes to your footwear.

Before you start exercising, make sure you’re wearing shoes that fit well, so that you’re less likely to injure yourself while exercising. Do pick the right shoes appropriate for the activity too.

When diabetes-related nerve damage affects the feet, it is difficult to feel blisters or sores. People with neuropathy may be advised to choose activities less likely to cause blisters, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, instead of running or jogging.

Prep Food And Drinks

Carry appropriate food, drink, or other carbohydrate sources to replenish your sugar levels if necessary. For instance, you could carry fruit juice, bananas, snack crackers or a sports drink. Do stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.

WebMD. Retrieved on August 28, 2015 from:
Health Promotion Board of Singapore. Retrieved on Aug 31, 2015 from:
WebMd. Retrieved on Aug 31, 2015 from:
WebMd. Retrieved on Aug 31, 2015 from:
Health Promotion Board of Singapore. Retrieved on Aug 31, 2015 from:

SG.2022.29988.GLU.1 (V1.1)

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